The good news: after tomorrow night, you won’t have to read anything more about Iowa for a long time. Also, probably nothing more about Michele Bachmann, and perhaps Rick Perry and/or Newt Gingrich, either. After which the candidates will be off to New Hampshire and South Carolina, and the rest of us can wonder what excuses House Republicans can come up with for opposing the full-year UI and payroll tax cut extensions that only a week or so ago they were demanding as absolutely essential. In the meantime…yeah, it’s mostly Iowa:
1. Dave Weigel catches up with Rick Santorum on the campaign trail, with excellent detail.
2. And good detail from Alec MacGillis, who is following Mitt Romney around. A sample:
It doesn't help matters that these lines are being spoken, like all of Romney's lines, at a speed that is several RPMs too fast, which prevents him from being able to even pretend that he is fully absorbing the scene in front of him before he declaims on the wonderfulness of it all.
3. Roger Simon covers the Romney campaign strategy. I agree that Romney’s team has been impressive so far, and certainly doesn’t have to win Iowa to succeed there, but I disagree about one thing: I still think Romney would be far better off running against Santorum than against Newt Gingrich.
4. Gingrich was destroyed by ads in Iowa, but also by high-visibility Republicans going after him nonstop. Mark Blumenthal has details and some speculation about how much the ads mattered.
5. Jamelle Bouie: “In other words, if Republicans want a shot at winning a non-trivial share of the ‘black vote,’ then they should shy away from presidential candidates who casually express racism on the campaign trail or elsewhere.”
6. Good post from Jonathan Chait on the relationship between libertarianism and bigotry.
7. “Peak crazy” – Kevin Drum looks at Iowa.
8. More on the Democrats’ plan to highlight Bain layoff victims, from Laura Clawson.
9. Adam Serwer has a good post rounding up what’s important in the Defense Authorization bill.
10. Big government and time zones, a New Year thought from Matt Yglesias.
11. Sarah Kliff explains what Chief Justice John Roberts had to say about Supreme Court recusals and ACA. For what it’s worth, I’m with him on this; the Court has always been political, and it’s no use trying to force Justices with strong opinions off of controversial cases.
12. Steve M. tries to explain Republicans to Frank Bruni. Good luck with that, but it’s worth a try, I guess.
13. And Anna Marie Cox has advice for all those poor candidates slugging it out in Iowa.